Stories published in October, 2011

Let’s promote ‘religious tourism’

Over 8,000 Sikh pilgrims from various countries visited Pakistan recently to celebrate the 543rd birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. This is not the only occasion in the calendar year when Sikh pilgrims come to Pakistan to visit their religious sites. The federal government has always been sensitive to the needs of Sikh pilgrims, but few in government may have thought that this traditional hospitality can also be converted into a source of earning. Since so many Sikhs visit the country throughout the year, it can use their arrival ...

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Colonized minds: Are we English Pakistanis?

In front of me was the land I was dreaming of – my new home for five months. The aerial view of Tokyo gave me butterflies in my stomach. I was there to study at the very prestigious Waseda University, but studies were the last thing on my mind. I thought there was much more to the trip than academics and I was proven correct as soon as I landed and was received by a group of university students. We tried to communicate. I didn’t know Japanese and they didn’t know English (Urdu, was conveniently out of question). They told me I was the ...

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Political rallies: Mine’s bigger than yours

Much of the overt political action this week shifted from Islamabad to Lahore, in recognition of the fact that whoever controls Punjab will control Pakistan. Competing rallies, both ostensibly anti-government but also meant to target each other, were held by the PML-N and the PTI in Lahore. Back in Islamabad, though, all parties were busy spinning their rallies while engaging in behind-the-scenes machinations. Depending on which vested interest you believe, the PML-N rally drew anywhere from 20 to 90 thousand people and the PTI rally between 40 and 200 thousand supporters. Politicians who wouldn’t know a quadratic equation if it ...

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Halloween: Partying at what cost?

The end of October this year brings us news of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha break and once again people flock to any and every place bearing livestock to purchase their sacrificial animals. For others though, the end of October marks the advent of new preparations for an entirely different kind of celebration. I present to you, ladies and gentlemen ‘the Halloween party’. Never mind the number of shops selling awkwardly coloured Superman and Batman costumes, and schools that are organizing costume parties over the more traditional Eid gatherings. These lavish extravaganzas are aiming to take All Hallow’s Eve to a whole new level. Shiny ...

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A checklist for the new PCB chief

It hurts to the core when I see the absolute shambles Pakistan cricket is in after being associated with it right from the start. Gone are the days when Justice Cornelius, Hafeez Kardar and Nur Khan were its administrative leaders, the individuals drawing respect from all over while representing Pakistan cricket abroad. I rest the blame on the amount of money associated with cricket. The perks of being head honcho attracted all and sundry, resulting in a total mess of the board’s management, which is overstaffed with most personnel being a drain on its resources, who need to be given ...

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Tableeghis stole my friend

A July afternoon makes an Edward the vampire out of everyone; only we don’t grow any fairer. I hate sunburns so I spend it in my bedroom reading Tolstoy or watching The Big Bang Theory. One wouldn’t like reading too much of  Tolstoy on a steamy day so more often than not I am in front of the computer table watching the sitcom. Last year on such days, Abdul*, my neighbour and former friend, would also join me. His dial-up connection had little respect for his time and high-definition videos. And he returned in the same coin by spending more time with ...

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Is The Express Tribune a government mouthpiece?

Do you know what a PC-1 is? Or a summary? Or the facilitation of the upgradation of the basic health unit? This is how our newspapers sound because this is the language bureaucrats and politicians use. And because our reporters are by and large getting their news stories from these people, they end up using the same dusty language. As a result, what the reader gets is ‘employment opportunities’ instead of jobs, ‘concerned authorities’ and ‘authorities concerned’. As a desk editor I have shouted and screamed, begged and pleaded with the sub-editors and reporters to write for the reader, in ...

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10 best, worst and totally failed Halloween costumes

Halloween can be absolutely amazing when everyone gets into the festive mood and makes the effort to dress up. From mouth watering candy to delicious pumpkin pie, the treats, no doubt, are delicious, and the tricks can get pretty imaginative for those so inclined. I for one, prefer to scare and horrify (trick) rather than be bribed by sweets (unless pumpkin pie’s on offer) but hey, that’s just me. However, what really gets people psyched about Halloween is the dressing up. Over the years some costumes have become established as Halloween classics (like pirates, Superman, Spiderman, Darth Vader, etc.) while others ...

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PML-N’s message: To ‘Ali Baba’, from a ‘dengue brother’

How does one measure the “success” of an anti-government political rally? Do you go by the statement of the political party itself? Do you talk to its supporters? To irritated residents in the vicinity who complain about traffic woes and noise pollution? Or do you gauge the temperature rising in the capital in its aftermath? The anti-government rally lead by the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) on October 28 was prominently covered by the local press and dominated conversation in Lahore on Saturday. News anchors dubbed the event as “kamyab” (successful) in the 9 o’ clock news bulletin, complete with sound ...

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Circle of life

Feelings of being enraged; feelings of wanting to go out on to the streets and protest (not in a revolutionary mood though); feelings of smacking someone right in the middle of their head; feelings of sometimes shouting out loud in a helpless cry, and sometimes in a defeated sombre sigh. These are just some of the feelings, when the letters C, E, S and K are arranged in the order of KESC. I can already sense disgusted frowns appearing on some faces. Those not in Karachi probably have a victorious smirk on, or are thanking the Lord for His graciousness – aren’t you happy ...

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